Showing posts with label Home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Home. Show all posts

Saturday, May 27, 2023


Max is tiny; the responsibilities are huge. 

One forgets the massive undertaking the care and keeping of little ones can be. 

He's absolutely adorable; the way he toddles around being curious about everything is my favorite thing. What it must be to be all of eight weeks old in the world! I keep thinking Scout, friend to all beings, would have loved to play with him. 

Max likes shoes and has made a little pile of toys, shoes and hand towels in the rumpus room... I'm hoping that the people who live in my house and love their Converses, Docs, and Campers will start putting them away properly out of fear of Max now. Ha.

Pic: Nu with Huck and Max in the backyard.

Friday, May 26, 2023

no way but welcome

Max is here. Welcome, little one! 

This is a crazy idea and the timing seems way off. But I feel my heart growing as I find ways to welcome Max into the family. JN whose idea this was initially is 100% this is the right move (I was drinking a non alcoholic cider slushie yesterday so I was fully present), the rest of the family seemed convinced too, and suddenly we have a new puppy.

So far: Max, who is all of eight weeks old, is very enamored of Nu; likes to cuddle me like a lovey and sleep on my feet if I'm in a chair; pooped in the backyard three times like a champion; peed in the house twice by accident; likes walks and tolerates a leash; learned to ‘aah cheppu’ (say aah)  and eat from a spoon; is afraid of train sounds in our backyard; likes treats, but does not care for chewy treats; has learned to play with toys; has barfed up a meal; has chewed through a charging cable; is definitely the best poser in the family…

Huckie has been ignoring Max for the most part, although she's the main reason he's here. That and the fact that Max needed a family and a home. Huckie has been so forlorn since Scout. Big A and I have been worried about her going into decline as she was uninterested in most things, not eating enough, and--this part freaked us out--doing things only Scoutie used to do like refuse to use stairs, lie absolutely still with a tail wagging welcome, etc. We hope Huckie and Max will be best-friend-sibs, but if that doesn't happen, that's ok too. I'm perfectly fine if she decides to live her best life out of spite; she certainly seems more animated already.

(Scout was named for Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird; Huck was named from Huckleberry Finn; Max is named for Max from Where the Wild Things Are--well, we already have a "Rumpus Room," nothing left to do but let the wild rumpus start, I suppose.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

but I haven't told all the stories yet

It has been a month.

I'm sorry to sound like a broken record, but I can't say it out loud to other people (except Big A)... I miss Scout. I miss Scout. I miss Scout. 

I do keep telling stories about him to everyone... and sometimes if the person I'm telling the story to is a stranger I might never see again, I tell the stories in present tense as though he were alive. 

I have so many stories. How we called him the 'writing wolf', because he'd wake up and hang out with me to write. Or how we called him 'wolf puppy' when he'd writhe on his back and bare his teeth. and how--we don't have a name for this--but how he'd get upset at raised voices and bark at the person who was being mean. 

Pic: Scout running to meet me--just about two years ago. This may be my favorite (grainy, fuzzy) picture of Scout.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

being back

A puttering-around and recovering kind of day...

For me that meant watering my million indoor plants, cleaning the kitchen and kitchen appliances, changing the bed linens to summer friendly fabrics and patterns, sweeping and mopping the ground floor, and so on. I'd planned to vacuum the whole house, but Nu saved me.

(Nu saved me, that is, by leaving disposable contact lens cases and clean and dirty laundry and books and toys and trash all over their bedroom floor, so I kind of gave up on domestic goddess-ing at that point and contented myself with just getting the ground floor done.)

Then Big A came back early from Milwaukee, so there was a lot of squealing, and a long Sparty hike, and a long soak, and so much jabbering. Nu came back from school and tidied a little bit. It was Big A's Boss Day, he picked Sushi, and after a family hang out, it was early bedtime for everyone (except me).

Pic: Merely one pile of the yellowing and browned leaves I picked off my plants. Thanks to Nu who did some emergency watering while I was away, they're all alive. I'm hoping I can nurse my plants back to fullness soon. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Home: In two pics

I brought my midwestern travelers home!
I love that there are some families and parents in this picture too...

Reunited with my babies! They took this selfie looming over me as I was falling asleep on the couch around 8:00 pm.


Saturday, May 06, 2023


Big A and I decided against a walk (MSU graduation day is today and campus seemed overrun) and worked on clearing out brush in the woodsy patches alongside the driveway instead. We got a lot done, but we have tons more to do--raking is probably next as dead leaves are choking the ground cover.

I took no breaks, but I did get distracted... I was excited to find a morel and then found about twenty more. I've been checking the patch in the S.E. corner by the fallen elm since the rains, but I think that area has been blitzed too thoroughly by the mower to produce anymore. So happy to find this new (to me) patch. 

Pic: Big A with a big stick. I call him the "branch manager" when he gets too bossy. 

Thursday, May 04, 2023

visits (pasts and futures)

I had to visit my CASA kids at the Luce Road school today. I got such a running tackle-hug combo when CD spied me walking down the hallway. Then their aide reminded them to use "walking feet" in the hallway, and I remembered how I love elementary school sociolects. And then CD began announcing loudly and proudly to everyone that I was their case worker. OMG. I love kids and their lack of filter and the weird things they're proud of. 

I also got various random kids stepping up to me to shyly say hello. I had to wonder at the combination of shyness and speaking unprompted to a stranger they didn't have to speak to. I was chuckling on the inside and all grown up on the outside. The whole thing was such a delightful interlude. 

This had been Nu's school ten years ago, so there were flashbacks to my serious kindergartner and of bringing puppy Scout to school and being told he had big feet so he'd be a big boy, etc. And then I saw Nu's first grade teacher, Ms. G. I remembered how Nu told me and Big A not to smoke (we don't) because Ms. G's parents had died from smoking. Ms. G thought it was hilarious--not her parents' deaths, but what her students' parents remember ten years on. And THEN, I saw one of MY students from five years ago, whom I had mentioned in class just this morning (for the random reason of them having been a picky eater on our London trip). That was truly bonkers.

Today brought many smiles. And Big A will be back home tonight too...  (Just seven more trips to Milwaukee before his job moves back to Michigan. YAY!!)

Pic: Wandering with Huck in the backyard... there's grass growing inside this tree hollow!

Sunday, April 30, 2023


Someone's turning 24 (24!!) in a couple of days. We celebrated today because 24-year-olds are busy people.

Biryani, cake, and presents at home and then we headed to a showing of How to Blow up a Pipeline. Just saying the title out loud when asking for tickets made me feel a bit anxious, honestly. I kept asking the kids--does it have a "How" in the title? I told them I didn't want to be like that long-ago friend who used to refer to To Kill a Mockingbird as How to Kill a Mockingbird

My Spring term class starts tomorrow. Somehow in this nightmarish, tear-soaked week, I've managed to finish prepping and sharing course materials. Early.

Pic: At with cake and presents.

Friday, April 28, 2023

in the aftermath

There's just been a lot of sad sleeping around here, including--especially--by Huckie. JS kindly offered to hold a puppy playdate with her Maeve, but it rained all day, so we had to cancel. 

Although I've been home this week, I've been working on finalizing prep for the course that starts on Monday. Thankfully, Big A is back today, so I'm not solely responsible for caring for all the sad babies.

Pic: Huck fast asleep with "Buddy" who looks like a baby Goldendoodle. Buddy used to be Nu's but we decided Huckie needed a lovey. (She wasn't really hugging him, I slipped him under her arm.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2023


I wrote a long-ish post on Facebook to share about Scout as though telling everyone I know would make it seem more real. 

Mostly stuff I've been sharing here for weeks... with the addition our perfect last day... We'd made grilled cheese, had fried bananas and icecream (his favorite), and took a family nap in the rumpus room. Scout went from At and me on one couch to Big A and Huckie on the other, before curling up with Nu on the floor. We took another tiny walk in the backyard and then Dr. R came. Scout went too quickly. The Doc said it would take 10-15 minutes, but it took Scout barely a minute. My baby must have been so ready.

I'm glad I shared on FB. There was so much love for Scout and so many well wishes on his onward journey. They had just started at the crematorium, so this was a send off with people all over the world wishing him well as I listened to the Aditya Hridayam over and over. I had mentioned on the post how he'd never managed to make a kitty friend despite trying very hard, and it led to the sweetest blessing from a high school friend: "may he finally make friends with the kittens... they are definitely friendlier where he is."

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

the day after

It feels empty. 

I feel emptied out.

My eyes and head hurt.

My whole body hurts.

(But I have a very clean house.)

Friday, April 21, 2023

"how can you just leave me standing/alone in a world so cold"*

We never had pets growing up because my parents thought I was incapable of handling the inevitable reality of pet loss--talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy! (To be fair, this was probably well grounded, because I would do stuff like cry for hours about hurt butterflies and birds and whatnot. I wasn't an easy child.)

This means that when I met Scout, I just fell so hard for him. He was my dream puppy baby and when Huckie came along the next year, they became the perpetual toddlers in the large family I yearned for. Big A and I have always been "Dada" and "Mama" to them.

So these ten years with Scout coincide with some of the most golden years of my parenting life--the mischief and unpredictability and joy and surprise and beauty and busyness--and saying goodbye to Scout feels like saying goodbye to a stage of life I loved so much. It's one of the few periods I'd be happy to live through all over again. Wish you could stay, Scoutie. You're always so wonderful at helping me figure things out.   

Pic: A light saber fight (dance?) from 2013. Scout has the green light saber, he played with it all that summer and chewed off the tip and yes--I still have it. 

Title: Today marks seven years since Prince left us--also too soon.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

it's almost time

This morning I had to pry Scout's wolf mouth open to slide pills hidden in a lump of icecream into him. These last couple of days have been the first time Scout has ever been uninterested in food or the outdoors. Everyone said Scout would let us know when it was time... it feels like he's telling us now.

He's so weary, but still the Scoutie who wants to be as near us and get all the pets as possible though. I want for Scout what I'd want for myself--to pass away at home surrounded by loved ones. We have an appointment with the hospice vet for Monday. 

Pic: One of my favorite pictures of Scout. In the old house, he'd lean on the window sill with his stuffie under one arm and get so excited if he saw any creatures swim past us in the river. He wanted to be friends with every living thing when he was a baby. I first posted this here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

photo swap

Thank you for all the good wishes and confidence in my ability to take good photos. The photographer turned out to be the partner of someone I adore in one of my classes, so I felt quite at ease + I wore an Indian scarf and felt grounded and comfortable. 

Despite all that though, I somehow look exceedingly stiff and startled in the picture. Ah. C'est la vie. It's unlikely that this copyrighted, corporate photo will be used for anything other than the press release anyway. 

Pic: The photo that brought me joy today was Nu's picture of Scout and Huck keeping me warm. Their touching butts make a heart shape if you squint just right.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

"cherry blossoms fill the air"*

It rained all day, but both our cherry trees are in bloom--overnight and within a day of each other.

But At was home for dinner and Big A leaves tomorrow for MKE, so I took the annual cherry blossom family picture today. 

This is weeks earlier than any other year I can remember

Temps had dropped thirty degrees over the course of the day (from 75-35 degrees), and Nu urged me to hurry up with the pictures because they were cold.

I was worried about the tiny sprints Scout broke into a couple of times (the doc has advised against running). But At said something that made me think--"imagine how happy he must be that he feels he can run again." 💗

Pic: Scout, At, Nu, Big A, and Huck between the cherry trees.

*Title: from a song At used to sing to Nu while they were in my belly. Video version here

Saturday, April 15, 2023

I guess I won something...

I attended yesterday's faculty meeting virtually because I wanted to get home to Scoutie. The sound was iffy from the beginning, but completely cut out right as the Prez announced the tenured faculty teaching award. 

I gathered (from chat and texts) that apparently I was the one who won it this year? Yay! Yay? It feels unreal and anti-climatic, because I missed the nice stuff I could see him saying about why I was nominated etc. I can't help noticing how uncharacteristically unexcited I am about this right now.

Usually, my students win awards. Ironically, this year--my students were runners up and I have this award. Honestly, I prefer it the other way--awards definitely mean more to them as they set off on their post-graduate careers. 

Pic: Scout and Huck sniffing spring and deer smells. Good day for Scout, but he just looks so tired in photos lately. 

Thursday, April 13, 2023


It's no secret that Big A is a more indulgent puppy kid parent than a human kid parent... and it's no surprise that Scout's condition hit him hard. I've had to be the emotionally supportive partner more than I can ever remember being. 

I was kind of depending on Big A because... what do I know--Scout is my first ever pet and all I've ever done is read books. Big A is an emergency physician, he had a lot of pets growing up--he'd know what to do, right? No. Families make end of life decisions not healthcare providers, and all his pets "got given away or run over" and hearing that made me want to cry all over again.

Anyway, last day of classes today and then a wine-and-cheese thing at our college President's house. When Prez A politely asked me how I was, I started telling him about my dying puppy (face palm). He then valiantly saved the conversation by telling me that he and Big A follow each other on Zwift, so we were able to turn back to safer topics before I had a meltdown.

Pic: Big A with Scout and Huck post backyard walk; a glimpse of me in the mirror.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

tiny, beautiful things

The hospice vet visited this morning--everyone I asked recommended her, and she lives up to all the wonderful things people said about her. We now have a sort of plan: we are to call her when the bad days begin to outnumber the good days. 

Today was a bad day, FTR. On good days, I feel Scout could go on for months; on bad days I wait for the next good day. I was such a mess today; in meetings, I could definitely feel myself bringing people down with my horrible energy.

Also, it's not helping that I've been watching Tiny, Beautiful Things, which is devastating. It's based on the Cheryl Strayed book and I cry through half the show at least. When I peeked at the book, it looks really different in structure, so I'm going to have to get it and read it. And cry some more.

Pic: Scout and Huck love this little dell with its carpet of tiny bluets in April and I'm glad I got this picture of them together so carefully sniffing everything.

Monday, April 10, 2023

playing catch up

I really did take the weekend off for once, so there was a ton of Monday stuff to get through this morning... almost all done now. I worked so single-mindedly that when I got up at the end of that session, I was quite dizzy. I keep thinking I should set a timer for an hour to remind myself to move/drink water/give my eyes a break. I should just do it already.

Scout and Huck are a bit miffed about the end of Easter weekend; Nu has a ton of PSAT testing this week so they're taking things easy; At showed up for dinner with a couple of his labor friends; Big A returns tomorrow; this is the last week of classes for me. There! All caught up.

Pic: Scout! These days I follow him around the way he usually follows me. 


Max is tiny; the responsibilities are huge.  One forgets the massive undertaking the care and keeping of little ones can be.  He's absol...